Aligning Climate Action with National Interest and the Short-Term Focus of Governments

“The virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea”  Franklin D. Roosevelt   “Governing for the future is … difficult because it rubs up against the short-termism that is inherent in the politics of the electoral cycle. Its difficulty is compounded when governing for the future involves painful choices in the present”  House of Commons, […]

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The U.S. Clean Power Plan: Design and Challenges to Core Stakeholder Participation

The Clean Power Plan (CPP) was the regulatory cornerstone of the U.S.’ Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that was included in the Paris Agreement of December 2015. The CPP was designed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after President Obama directed the agency to do so in June 2013, […]

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Carbon Pricing in Practice: Lessons from Existing ETS Regimes

Since more than 40 countries have already implemented carbon pricing policies of some kind, there is much that other countries contemplating new policies could learn from their experience. Insights from a detailed review of current emissions trading systems (ETS) indicate that institutional learning from within or outside respective jurisdictions, administrative prudence in implementing and managing […]

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China’s National ETS: What are the Key Challenges for Establishing an MRV System?

An effective system for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) is the cornerstone of any carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS). A key feature of a robust MRV system is that it should be built on general monitoring and reporting principles such as completeness, accuracy, consistency and transparency. Such a robust MRV system is essential for the […]

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Empirical Calibration of Climate Policy using Corporate Solvency

The fundamental goal of climate policy is to incentivise emissions reductions and the transition to lower carbon processes and technologies. When firms face new costs related to reducing carbon emissions, they may suffer some loss of financial condition as they restructure their businesses. However, if the firm becomes bankrupt as a result of such policies, […]

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Assessing the US Retreat from the Paris Agreement: Backtracking to Kyoto?

Perhaps the most widely debated event in global climate policy since the Paris Agreement’s adoption in 2015 was the United States’ decision in June 2017 to withdraw from the treaty, pending possible re-engagement under different terms. When the announcement was on the cards, some commentators argued that the US would be ‘better out than in’, […]

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Will Social Movements Focused on Fossil Fuel Supply Help Solve the Climate Crisis?

In an article just published in Climate Policy, I discuss the rise over the past decade of the “keep-it-in-the-ground” movement – a loosely coordinated mobilisation effort aimed at halting the extraction of fossil fuels. It has included occupations to stop construction of pipelines, blockades of shipping lanes, marches at UN meetings and campaigns for organisations […]

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Beyond Facilitative Accountability in the Paris Agreement: Three Additional “Accountability Pathways”

During the UN Climate Conference of the Parties (COP 23) in Bonn, the fourth workshop of the Facilitative Sharing of Views (FSV) was held as part of the 47th meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI). Here, five developing countries (non-Annex I), after submitting reports for technical review, presented their reports on the development […]

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Realising Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform through Trade Agreements

 STORY HIGHLIGHTS When the WTO’s eleventh Ministerial Conference meets in December 2017, Members can make a significant contribution to the 2030 Agenda by calling for new rules to curb fossil fuel subsidies. Fossil fuel subsidy reform could significantly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and free billions in public funds that could be reallocated to other […]

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